Albert Schweitzer's leading philosophical idea was "reverence for life": good consists in maintaining and perfecting life, evil in destroying and obstructing life. For Schweitzer, all life is sacred, and ethics deals with human attitudes and behavior toward all living beings. Unlike most other moral philosophers, Schweitzer argues that knowledge of human nature does not lead to any unique moral theory. For that reason, he bases his ethics on much broader foundations, articulated in his philosophy of civilization and philosophy of religion. His central idea is that the material element of our civilization has become far more important than its spiritual counterpart. Even organized religion has put itself in the service of politics and economics, thereby losing its vitality and moral authority. Schweitzer's ethics of reverence for life, argues Predrag Cicovacki, offers a viable alternative at a time when traditional ethical theories are found inadequate. Collecting fifteen of Schweitzer's most effective essays, this volume serves as a compelling introduction to this remarkable thinker.
Predrag Cicovacki is an associate professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross.
INTRODUCTION ; PART I: A FOUNDATION OF THE ETHICS OF REVERENCE FOR LIFE: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY OF CIVILIZATION ; PART II: THE ETHICS OF REVERENCE FOR LIFE ; PART III: MY LIFE IS MY ARGUMENT: THE APPLICATION OF THE ETHICS OF REVERENCE FOR LIFE ; CHRONOLOGY ; BIBLIOGRAPHY